Okay, here we are.  You ready?

As I’ll ever be.


First of all, I’d like to thank you for accommodating me.  My schedule’s been pretty crazy lately, so I appreciate you shuffling your calendar to meet with me today.  These days, I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

That’s no problem.  —Hey, are you taping this?


Yeah.  Is that a problem?

I guess not.


They were Fobbits because, at the core, they were nothing but marshmallow.  Crack open their chests and in the space where their hearts should be beating with a warrior’s courage and selfless regard, you’d find a pale, gooey center.  They cowered like rabbits in their cubicles, busied themselves with PowerPoint briefings to avoid the hazard of Baghdad’s bombs, and steadfastly clung white-knuckled to their desks at Forward Operating Base Triumph.  If the FOB was a mother’s skirt, then these soldiers were pressed hard against the pleats, too scared to venture beyond her grasp.

Like the shy, hairy-footed Hobbits of Tolkien’s world, they were reluctant to go beyond their Shire, bristled with rolls of concertina wire at the borders of the FOB.  After all, there were goblins in turbans out there!  Or so they convinced themselves.